A Book of Beauty

A Book of Beauty
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Hugh Cecil.

London. Philip Allan & Co. Ltd. No date [1926]. Blue papered-boards with a crinkle effect to surface, backed with white buckram, gilt title and device to front board and spine. 74 pages. 36 tipped-in photogravures reproducing portraits taken by Hugh Cecil, each accompanied by a complementary poem on the opposite page. 275 x 205mm (10 x 8"). 1kg. . English. Near fine; the lightest wear to forecorners and head and tail of spine, slight browning to endpapers; the pages have the thickness of card and subsequently there are a couple of occasions where the internal hinges are beginning to crack, this is usual but is minor in this copy; a remarkably well preserved copy, fresh and clean, and free of inscriptions.

A remarkably well-preserved copy of Hugh Cecil's very scarce and influential A Book of Beauty. Cecil was a society photographer active during the 1910s and 1920s and is well-known for his royal portraits of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) and George VI. With a studio in London he was perfectly placed to photograph the Bright Young Things and his A Book of Beauty published in 1926 perfectly encapsulates the glamour, beauty and fashion of the period. Sitters for the 36 portraits include Viscountess Curzon, Marquise de Casa Maury, Gladys Cooper, Miss de Lavigne, Lady Diana Cooper, 'The Bride', Natacha Rambova and 'Prudence'. The book influenced Cecil Beaton, who went on to publish his own The Book of Beauty in 1930.